F Rosa Rubicondior: Malevolent Designer News - How The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Was Made

Friday 2 December 2022

Malevolent Designer News - How The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Was Made

Where did Omicron come from?: Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Fig. 2
Gradual emergence followed by exponential spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in Africa

Fischer, C., et al (2022)
Devoted folowers of Creationism's intelligent [sic] designer, whom they credit for creating everything, will normally cite examples of multiple mutations which give rise to a new capability such as resistence to antibiotics or anti-malarial drugs as evidence of design because the probability of so many mutations arising is vanishingly small.

What they ignore is the fact that the multiple advantageous mutations can accumulate over time in the population and don't need to arise as a single event in a single organism, like their phoney maths models.

In fact, one of their gurus, Michale J Behe wrote a book, The Edge of Evolution based on just that mathematical deception, and was roundly exposed as a fraud by Kenneth R. Miller for doing so.
A classic example of this phenomenon in respect of the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to give rise to the highly infection Omicron variant, which also has the ability to evade the immunity we have either from vaccinations or acquired naturally by pervious infections, was published yesterday in the Journal Science.

The Omicron variant has about 50 mutations which together give it these abilities and a group of researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and a network of African institutions, led by Professor Jan Felix Drexler, has shown how Omicron almost certainly arose slowly across the viral population in Africa, accumulating a few mutations in local populations, which then eventually came together as the 50 mutations in Omicron which then took off with exponential growth, spreading very rappidly acroos African then the world at large.

Key to this accumulation of mutations was the growign population of humans with immunity which acted as environmental selectors favouring the mutations, just as the neo-Darwinian synthesis of the Theory of Evolution predicts.

This illustrates a feature of evolution that Creationists have to ignore - the ability of populations to accumulate different, parallel lines of mutations with each generation increasing the probability of a chance combination of two or more different lines arising.
As the news release from Charité Universitätsmedizin explains:
First discovered a year ago in South Africa, the SARS-CoV-2 variant later dubbed “Omicron” spread across the globe at incredible speed. It is still unclear exactly how, when and where this virus originated. Now, a study published in the journal Science* by researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and a network of African institutions shows that Omicron’s predecessors existed on the African continent long before cases were first identified, suggesting that Omicron emerged gradually over several months in different countries across Africa.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the coronavirus has been constantly changing. The biggest leap seen in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 to date was observed by researchers a year ago, when a variant was discovered that differed from the genome of the original virus by more than 50 mutations. First detected in a patient in South Africa in mid-November 2021, the variant later named Omicron BA.1 spread to 87 countries around the world within just a few weeks. By the end of December, it had replaced the previously dominant Delta variant worldwide.

Our data show that Omicron had different ancestors that interacted with each other and circulated in Africa, sometimes concurrently, for months. This suggests that the BA.1 Omicron variant evolved gradually, during which time the virus increasingly adapted to existing human immunity.

This means Omicron’s sudden rise cannot be attributed to a jump from the animal kingdom or the emergence in a single immunocompromised person, although these two scenarios may have also played a role in the evolution of the virus. The fact that Omicron caught us by surprise is instead due to the diagnostic blind spot that exists in large parts of Africa, where presumably only a small fraction of SARS-CoV-2 infections are even recorded. Omicron’s gradual evolution was therefore simply overlooked. So it is important that we now significantly strengthen diagnostic surveillance systems on the African continent and in comparable regions of the Global South, while also facilitating global data sharing. Only good data can prevent policymakers from implementing potentially effective containment measures, such as travel restrictions, at the wrong time, which can end up causing more economic and social harm than good.

Professor Drexler, correcponding author
Since then, speculations about the origin of this highly transmissible variant have centered around two main theories: Either the coronavirus jumped from a human to an animal where it evolved before infecting a human again as Omicron, or the virus survived in a person with a compromised immune system for a longer period of time and that’s where the mutations occurred. A new analysis of COVID-19 samples collected in Africa before the first detection of Omicron now casts doubt on both these hypotheses.

The analysis was carried out by an international research team led by Prof. Jan Felix Drexler, a scientist at the Institute of Virology at Charité and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). Other key partners in the European-African network included Stellenbosch University in South Africa and the Laboratory of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (LFHB) in Benin. The scientists started by developing a special PCR test to specifically detect the Omicron variant BA.1. They then tested more than 13,000 respiratory samples from COVID-19 patients that had been taken in 22 African countries between mid-2021 and early 2022. In doing so, the research team found viruses with Omicron-specific mutations in 25 people from six different countries who contracted COVID-19 in August and September 2021 – two months before the variant was first detected in South Africa.

To learn more about Omicron’s origins, the researchers also decoded, or “sequenced,” the viral genome of some 670 samples. Such sequencing makes it possible to detect new mutations and identify novel viral lineages. The team discovered several viruses that showed varying degrees of similarity to Omicron, but they were not identical. In addition, the PCR data led the researchers to conclude that although Omicron did not originate solely in South Africa, it first dominated infection rates there before spreading from south to north across the African continent within only a few weeks.
In other words, an 'irredcucibly complex' cluster of 50 mutations arose slowly over time by a well-understood evolutionary process, just as it does in other organisms.

Copyright: © 2022 The authors.
Published by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Open access. (CC BY 4.0)
The scientists give more information in the abstract to their open access paper in Science:

The geographic and evolutionary origins of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (BA.1), which was first detected mid-November 2021 in Southern Africa, remain unknown. We tested 13,097 COVID-19 patients sampled between mid-2021 to early 2022 from 22 African countries for BA.1 by real-time RT-PCR. By November-December 2021, BA.1 had replaced the Delta variant in all African sub-regions following a South-North gradient, with a peak Rt of 4.1. Polymerase chain reaction and near-full genome sequencing data revealed genetically diverse Omicron ancestors already existed across Africa by August 2021. Mutations, altering viral tropism, replication and immune escape, gradually accumulated in the spike gene. Omicron ancestors were therefore present in several African countries months before Omicron dominated transmission. These data also indicate that travel bans are ineffective in the face of undetected and widespread infection.

Fischer, Carlo; Maponga, Tongai Gibson; Yadouleton, Anges, et al.(2022)
Gradual emergence followed by exponential spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in Africa
Science; eadd8737. DOI: 10.1126/science.add8737

Copyright: © 2022 The authors.
Published by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Open access
Reprinted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0)
No doubt news of this, if they ever read it, will be greeted by Creationists with, "But it's still a virus!", so showing they don't understand what evolution is or how it's defined by scientists.

Thank you for sharing!

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